Pilfering Youth

Tell me what you think about this story? Is it confusing?

Eyebrows arched high, blue eyes wide and carefully made up to hide the first signs of wrinkles, Ashara posed in front of the crowd. Colorful fabric streamed behind her, a parody of the flags ringing the stadium. Cameras flashed, but the applause was polite.

She turned on her six-inch heels and stalked back across the stage. Her hair swept down her back in long, loose waves; it excited more comment than the flower-print folds of her dress.

Her heels left faint gold marks on the wooden boards, but no one noticed.

The next model was a slim, dark figure in white wedges, a shimmering black crop top and ivory pants. She strode over her predecessor’s footsteps.

The crowd roared and cameras flashed enough to blind anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the glare. The model kept turning, kept moving. She was rumored to take Ashara’s place as the next top model.

A hush came over the crowd when she stumbled and went down hard. One of the stage crew helped her off.

Ashara came back in a number designed to show off a svelte body, all smooth lines and shining fabric. Whispers flowed like water at her appearance. She looked as if she had lost a decade in the ten minutes she had been off stage.

L is for Lies

L-12A couple years ago, while randomly browsing the internet, Iran across this title: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. (His books are good.)

It’s a book on writing and the title got me thinking. I never picked up the book, but the title stuck in my head.

A story is made up, a piece of fiction. It doesn’t exist. That, on one level, makes it a lie.Lies

But! Everyone knows a story can’t be real. Not everyone knows such a thing of other, more normal lies.

On the other hand, a story must have emotional / psychological truths. How would anyone relate to a character otherwise? And it must have at least some factual truths, else someone will cry: bad research!

The best lies are supposed to have truth, so that doesn’t mean the story can’t be called a lie. Even so, I cannot quite convince myself I write lies. Perhaps it would he easier if the word didn’t have negative meanings.

What do you think? Is aIl fiction some bizarre form of lying?

Has anyone read the book? Does it offer an explanation? Maybe the title is just an example of someone’s expertise at title creation something eye-catching and memorable.

Friday Flash: Red Sun

“Boss, boss, wait up!”

She continued walking, heels clicking on the sidewalk.

Squeak ran to catch up. “C’mon. Don’t be like that. I only meant you should -”

She stopped and whirled on him. “I will not now or ever offer my blood to any sanguisuge. I’ll hear no more of this, do you understand, Squeak?”

“Loud and clear, ma’am.” He sounded tired. “But we have to offer them something.”

“Filthy creatures,” she muttered. “Leave it to me, Squeak.”

He nodded his brown head. “Yes, boss.” He turned and walked down the block to the office. He closed up tonight.

She watched the glazed glass office door shut behind him. Even a block away, the words still caught and reflected the dying sun: Red Sun Magician: Custom Spells, Incantations and Enchantments.

Red Sun was her baby. Her dream, ever since she had come home from school to the sight the family store on fire. Both her parents died in the fire. Now the sanguisuges threatened to burn her down if she didn’t give them blood or an equal amount of money.

They believed they could intimidate her, a university trained magician. They were wrong.

She turned, pulled her pink fleece cap a little lower and walked briskly home.

Friday Flash: Escape

This isn’t quite what I hoped it would be, but it’s done now. :)


City lights gleamed in the distance. They were pinpricks of   life, of hope.

He automatically searched out the building with the spire made of stacked metal gargoyle skulls. Even obscured by wet and fog, it was beautiful. His family lived there, walked and worked in its rooms. He’d spent the best part of childhood there.

His lover’s home was a couple dozen blocks past it. He’d thought it was his home, too. He was wrong.

“Come on.”

He looked over his shoulder at his friend. His friend’s dark clothing was wet from the rain and his hair was slicked back. But his gaze held only rough sympathy.

“You knew it would end,” his friend stated.

He nodded. He knew. It still hurt. He took a deep breath of the cool, rain-scented air. “Time to go.”

The both walked to the edge. He placed his hands on the wet railing and looked down. The river below was dark and the waters roiled in the storm.

A small boat bobbed in the water. It was barely visible. He swung his legs over the railing and jumped.

The splash he made was lost in the storm’s fury. The water was numbingly cold. A moment later, his friend dropped beside him.

They looked at each other, than started swimming.


Friday Flash: The Goglet

Helen provided a prompt: write a 100 word story using the words cylinder, goglet and liberate.

I managed to use all three words, but I am afraid I could not quite figure out how to turn it into a 100 word story. :(

The goglet took shape under her careful, gnarled fingers. The thick cylinder of clay grew in the pottery wheel. Its long, sensuous curves would attract drinkers like spilled honey drew vermin.

Her daughter decorated it with a fine black glaze. Frolicking shepherdesses, lonesome maids, wide open petals. It was enough to rivet any man’s gaze.

They placed it in the shop. Many men stopped and stared. They encouraged special orders from them.

The particular man walked into the shop again. They were quite happy to sell it to him.

He drank the liberating wine from it. He slept deeply that night and did not wake.

His paramour was delighted. She slipped into the night, taking the goglet with her, to give to her brother. He did not wake the next night either.

Friday Flash: The Mountain Lord

His bones ached. He was frozen inside his flying leathers.

A glorious, richly red dawn swept over the mountains. He eyed it with relief. They were almost home. And morning meant they could stop for breakfast.

He was too old for endless scouting flights. But the war demanded. The blood-path offered many rewards, but it required many sacrifices. Ah, he was in good company.

He leaned over the creature, seeking its warmth. A large expanse of snowy fields, bordered by snow-splattered forest stretched out far below. If he hadn’t lost complete track, those were the Valley Lord’s lands. Hard to tell from this height.

He raised a hand, catching the attention of his soldiers, than pointed downward.

He tapped the beast’s belly with the riding crop. It dropped down closer to the ground with gratifying quickness. He patted the neck-frill, smiling. Its training was remarkable.

They skimmed above the trees. The piney forest scent was strong here, even through the musk of the beasts and the scent-deadening chill. Where – ah, yes.

He struck the beast’s tail gently, twice. It turned, bucking under him, and he tightened his grip on the neck-frill.

The rest of the squad slipped into place around him.

They flew directly above the fields now. It was a beautiful unbroken white vista. He moved his head in small arcs, straining for any sign of the Valley Lord’s people. A stray gust of wind carried the scent of unbloodied-flesh. The Valley Lord didn’t bleed their animals. Just farm animals, no doubt, left out to forge. No people.

Perhaps they should land and make certain. He glanced back at his soldiers. For all their diligence in following him, their scenting was slow. No doubt they were as weary as he.

No, best to move on and stop for breakfast when the sun was fully up. They would lunch at home today. The thought filled him with renewed energy.

If the commander asked, he could report he had paused briefly at the Valley Lord’s lands. It would do. They would still be here when spring came. The Valley Lord couldn’t go anywhere, not in the dead of winter, not without significant loss of face.

First Day of National Novel Writing Month 2012

I have decided to do National Novel Writing Month. Thank You to all my friends who encouraged me.

So I loaded Scrivener and started a new short story project. Stared at the empty screen. Panicked when I realized I couldn’t remember any of my ideas for a short story. Took a deep breath and calmed down enough to recall I have been wanting to write a short pre-writing sort of story about the death of the character’s grandmother.

I have thus far written one sentence and I don’t know what else I am going to write. Maybe I should have decided I was going to do this earlier, did a bit more planning. LOL

But I am less panicked now and I know some of what I want to write. I am not going to do the traditional sort of NaNo. Instead I want to write five 10,000 word stories.

According to some people, that makes me a NaNo rebel. I don’t think I agree. I am still going to write 50,000 and I disagree with people who think 50,000 words worth of short stories is easier 50,000 words worth of a novel. It’s still 50,000 words.

National Novel Writing Month 2012

I did National Novel Writing Month last year, but I didn’t finish until well after the New Year. I did write more daily than I thought possible, so it wasn’t a loss.

This year, with NaNoWriMo starting the day after tomorrow, I am om the fence about whether or not to do NaNoWriMo this year. Last year was an experience, but I am not sure it is one I want to repeat. I was on the fence even before Sandy arrived and destroyed transportation, likely adding lots more time to my daily commute. So I will probably have a lot less time than last year to do this. Also, large chunks of the city are without power . . . so yeah. Now I am even less sure.

Plus, it will mean taking time away from editing. That’s a positive thing, IMO. I could use time away from it. Editing sucks.

IF I do decide on participating National Novel Writing Month, I will probably write five 10,000 word stories. I have never written so much as one 10,000 word story before and read hardly any. So it won’t be easy. Short stories are their own little world, one I don’t usually gravitate to naturally, so it will be a challenge.

It’s still 50,000 words. ;) It means writing one story or 10,000 words every five days. Which, yeah, feels scary just thinking about it. Advice, thoughts, anyone?

I don’t actually have ideas for five long-ish short stories, but I imagine they will come. (Yes, pantster, me!)

Do you take notes while you read?

I just read this post on Should Be Reading where MizB says she takes notes while reading. Me, I don’t understand that at all. At least not while reading fiction and most non-fiction. I only ever took notes when I read books for class. Once, I was even inspired to highlight when reading a historical/economy/business book for the book-club. (But the book was on my kindle, so nothing was damaged.)

You see this book? I could never markup a book like this. Never.

I’ve never written in a book itself, not even for school. I took notes in my notebook and stuck them in between the books’ pages. It feels a bit sacrilegious to actually make notes in the book itself. I rarely even highlight anything and when I do, it’s only as a last resort.

It’s different with books on the kindle. There, I don’t mind if I highlight passages – doing so makes finding certain paragraphs easier. Faster than using the search function. Truthfully, I feel freer to highlight books in the kindle.  I feel like it damages the book less.

Which may be a silly reaction. Maybe not. Definitely not when it comes to library books and textbooks I intended to sell after the semester. But otherwise? Maybe being unwilling to mark up my books is silly.

The other thing I only took notes on books for school. It’s not something that comes naturally to me for pleasure reading. Never, for fiction books. Only occasionally for non-fiction. I suppose I associate all note-taking with school, which casts an unpleasant pallor over books I mean to read for fun.

Free Reads on Google Play


So I was searching through the books in Google Play. I went through various menus, Featured, Top Selling, New Arrivals in Fiction, New Arrivals in Non-Fiction, until I arrived at Top Free.

I expected this section to be filled with classics. That is, books whose copyright had expired, along with a few other, more recently published books. I was wrong.

Well, not completely. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells topped free books the list. There were a few other titles, too, that I didn’t recognize and could possibly be classics. (I am not an expert on the classics.)

No, mostly it was bonus stories from writers I’ve heard of. Patterson, Christine Warren, Jenna Black and others. Which surprises me. I didn’t get any and I suppose they are complete stories, just short. I usually go looking for those bonus short stories on the author’s website. A couple were more novella sized – around 100 pages. Google Play is probably a pretty good outlet for them, too.

Plus! There was also a whole free book by Jayne Ann Krentz.

I didn’t see a lot of a self-published books, which surprised me. At least none I recognized.